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The Art of Making Roti Jala

Netted crepes are made of eggs, so there is some similarity with the ubiquitous noodles but they can then be so different. We eat such crepes dry and not in soups, but accompanied by luscious gravy of meat curry (image below). Best made fresh, best consumed fresh and while they retain their texture. In order to make such crepes, a mould (first image above), which allows the dough to be pressed through constrained holes, is used to produce the netted results (second image above).

Roti jala, the South-east Asian name for netted crepes, offers an alternative to rice, naans or baked bread, in accompanying chicken curry, mutton kurma or curry kapitan, at a meal.

Its origins are from south India, but are a popular choice in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia, especially with Straits Chinese families and Western backpackers. A dash of butter, one and a half cups of coconut milk, five eggs lightly beaten, a touch of tumeric powder and 20 ounces of sifted plain flour are all the ingredients required (image above). The pan used must be greased before hand to allow non-sticking of the dough when making the roti itself.

To Prepare : Recipe from

In a bowl, lightly whisk coconut milk, eggs, water, salt and turmeric powder
Sift all-purpose flour into a mixing bowl
Stir in the coconut-egg mixture gradually and mix, until a thin 'crepe-like batter' is achieved
Strain the batter through a fine sieve
On medium-low heat, grease and heat a griddle or a medium sized non-stick pan
Put a ladleful of batter into a Roti Jala mould/cup and in a circular motion, form a thin lacy pattern in the pan [about 8 inch in diameter]
Cook until set, turn over onto a plate [There is no need to cook the other side, much like a regular crepe]
Fold each crepe into quarters, staking them up as you go
As you make the crepes, grease the pan ever so often. Add a little water to the batter if it becomes too thick to maintain a crepe-like batter.

The flour has to sieved into a mixing bowl (image above) before adding the other ingredients, and as a general rule of thumb put in the dry ingredients before the wet ones. It is best to blend the dough in small portions to attain a rather smooth texture and to ensure no lumps exist by adding around 2 cups of water. (Image below - adding the coconut milk).

Once you are satisfied with the right texture/consistency of dough, pour small amounts through the mould contraption with minuscule holes - this allows the dough to be strained and fall out dripping on the other side to form a net like result.


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